John Graham Brown has many happy memories of driving a tractor around the family vineyards at Milawa at the ripe age of nine.
“I suspect I was a bit of a terror on the tractor and there may have been a few flattened grapevines to start with but I considered myself a pretty good driver even at that young age,” says the former chief executive officer of Brown Brothers.
Mr Brown, 76, the eldest son of the late John Charles and Patricia Brown, says for as long as he can remember he wanted to be involved in the family business, however his second choice would have been working as a nuclear scientist.
“But my heart was in the family business ever since I was a young boy and I was passionate about being a winemaker – when school holidays came around I couldn’t wait to get home to work in the vineyards,” he says.
“Dad had a mixed farm and we had a few grapes but we really were the minnow of the wine industry and life was very simple growing up in those early days. Mum and dad taught us good values and we appreciated the simple things in life.
“There were four boys and we had the freedom of the farm to run about and enjoy.”